Poll: Two-thirds of Palestinian youth fear sharing their political views online

According to a Palestinian poll, two-thirds of Palestinian youth feel insecure when they share their political views online, and one-third of Palestinian youth are held accountable for sharing their political views online.

According to the results of a survey and research conducted by the campaign "Center - Arab Center for the Development of Social Media," based in the city of Haifa (northern Palestine occupied in 1948), entitled "Mushta network: the effects of deterrence on the political participation of Palestinian youth in social media."

According to the data published by PCHR on its website, 76.3 percent of Palestinian youth use the Internet by smartphone, followed by 16.8 percent by personal computer, 12.2 percent by a family computer, and 11.7 percent by tablet. ).

The sample spent about 5.5 hours a day using the Internet. 

The research showed that Facebook platform is the most used platforms and applications, where the percentage of use of 71.3% of the Palestinian youth, followed by "WhatsApp" by 66% and then "YouTube" 51.1%, and "Instagram" 45.7% , Snapchat 32.7%, Viber 16.4%.

Twitter accounts for 15.8 per cent, Tech Talk 15 per cent, Skype 10.1 per cent, Telegram 8.1 per cent, Signal 3.5 per cent and LinkedIn By 3.8 per cent.

Political participation and expression of opinion

With regard to political participation and expression of opinion in the Internet and social networks, about 37.2% of respondents share their political views online, compared to 62.8% said they do not share political views.

In the same vein, 33.6 per cent responded by being held accountable as a result of participation in political views, while research showed that 66.4 per cent were not held accountable.

Concerning the reasons that prevent Palestinian participation and expression of opinion through social media, the Mushkah Network: Impact of Deterrence on the Political Participation of Palestinian Youth in Social Media, which summarizes and analyzes the content of focal groups.

In this regard, the report emphasized that young people question the usefulness of online political participation as they feel that their political participation does not make a difference when it comes to real change, and that this participation is selective on issues and topics and often tends to be part of a “trend” or a campaign in which they participate.

The legal and political environment has an impact

The report emphasizes that the current legal and political environment has a significant impact on the political activity of Palestinian youth on the Internet, especially after many Palestinians have faced the experience of removing content, harassment, interrogations, and arrests for exercising their right to freedom of expression on the Internet.

The MESKETA report notes that pressure and censorship from extended family members contribute to the suppression of youth political participation and freedom of expression in the Internet. Deterring others as a result of political participation scares young people into not expressing their views online, which in the digital rights literature is called “secondary deterrence effects” where online activities are deterred by users, even when they are not exposed to it, but when Others in their social networks of repression.

This report found that Palestinians identified types of deterrence effects, including fears of repression of journalists, writers, friends or family members from online arrests, interrogations, and harassment.

The results of panel discussions also showed that online bullying significantly affects political participation, and women in particular face high levels of cyberbullying and gender-based violence.

The "semi-skeptical" report pointed to fears among Palestinian youth at home, in particular, that their political participation online would lead to the loss of jobs and education, and as a result many of them decided that it was better not to express themselves online. Their future is being hurt. "

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